i42 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP.
Another Mongol, in scorn of the old man, offered a bag
of fodder. " That is my full value, sell me," said Attdr.
The furious Mongol, realizing the deception, immediately
killed him. Attdr composed numerous works, the best
known of which is the Pand-nama, or "Book of Counsels.77
His fame, however, chiefly rests on the celebrated poem
Mantik-ut-Tayr, or "The Parliament of the Birds,77 an
allegory in which birds of different species unite in a
quest for the Simurgh, the mythical eagle referred to in
Chapter XIL, the birds typifying Sufi pilgrims and the
Simurgh "the Truth.7' In the end the birds, purified by
trials, find that
Their ancient deeds and undeeds were cleansed away and annihilated
from their bosoms.
The Sun of Propinquity shone forth from them ; the souls of all of
them were illuminated by its rays.
Through the reflection of the faces of these thirty birds (si-murgh) of
the world they then beheld the countenance of the Simurgh.
When they looked, that was the Simurgh : without doubt that
Simurgh was those thirty birds (si murgh).
All were bewildered with amazement, not knowing whether they were
this or that.
A Criticism.—In concluding this brief notice of some
of the great writers of the period, I would urge that the
effect of the Persian climate and scenery on its poetry has
not been sufficiently considered by European authorities.
In the country round Nishapur, which is typical of most
other parts of the Iranian plateau, there is a high, naked
range to the north, the source of the streams of water on
which the irrigated crops depend. The wide, flat plain
is destitute of trees, which are grown only in walled
enclosures, where they also depend on irrigation. The
gardens of Persia, far renowned though they may be,
consisted, and still consist, of orchards and poplar groves,
with a few paths planted with roses loved by the nightin-
gale and with jasmines. They would not be thought
beautiful in Europe, because of the unsightly irrigation
channels and the lack of flowers ; but to the traveller
crossing the sun-blistered plains a combination of shade
and running water with nightingales is delightful indeed,
and contrasting it with the stony waste outside he forgets